Wow, another legendary big name has agreed to talk to us... and so interesting are the things she said! Julie has literally done it all, she's a complete artist!
1) Hey Julie! Can you tell us how you started to get involved in the fetish/BDSM scene? Is it true that you started modeling in more mainstream projects before?
I was doing a glamour shoot and the photographer asked if we could do some bondage. I didn't know what it was so I said "Sure". He put leather restraints and handcuffs on me and that was pretty easy, so I got on-line and booked a bunch of bondage shoots. I quickly discovered there was a lot more to it than that :) I'm a bit of an extremist and BDSM was a healthier outlet for those tendencies. I did glamour, fine art, and some fashion/catalogue work before I got into the fetish scene.
2) You’re probably taller than most bondage models out there… what advantages/disadvantages from your height have you encountered?
I am, I'm 5'9". It's a lot easier to suspend someone who is smaller. The advantage of being tall is when I put on my 6" stiletto heels I tower over most men and women and have no problem physically overpowering them.
3) What are the advantages of having studied ballet in your youth, considering your career now?
It came in handy in fine art modeling in particular. I was more aware of body positions and posturing; it helped with my flexibility as well.
4) Like many Sirens on our guest list, you have been featured at FetishCon and other such events. So here’s a Triple Whammy Question: Are you still a frequent attendee of fetish events/conventions? Did you have the chance to travel a lot as a guest/performer/attendee? Are conventions an awesome way for making great contacts or is it just a useful annoyance?
I rarely do events anymore. I have traveled for conventions, lectures, and performances in the past. They can be a great way to make contacts, especially when one is first starting out. They can be a bit overwhelming at times. So many people, constant noise. It's draining.
5) So when you won your first SIGNY award, was it like “Wow, I just kinda won an Oscar!” or was it more “Wow, but I still have so much to learn!”? How much are these prizes important to you?
I think the first one I won was for modeling. That was pretty cool, but my rigging award meant much more to me. Being recognized for my photography a few years later was nice, too, but nothing compares to winning top rigger in the world. It was something I really wanted and I was thrilled when it happened.
6) What made you decide at some point that modeling was not enough… as you became an expert rigger and then photographer/filmmaker?
I started rigging and directing early on. Partially it was out of necessity. I had just launched my JulieSimone.com site, when the boyfriend who was going to maintain it and I broke up. I had to keep it going one way or another, so I started bringing other models in. I learned rigging initially by watching people tie me up. If I was to get into a situation where I would be left alone in a hotel tied up, I wanted to be sure I would know how to get out. When I started traveling to LA and working for Harmony Concepts in 2000, they often put me in the dominant role because of my height and black hair, so I got better and faster at the rigging.
7) So is it better to have black, blonde or red hair, business-wise for this industry? Does it matter, really?
I don't know how much it matters. I think it boils down to personal preference. I prefer brunettes, I almost never shoot blondes. I feel more dominant when I have darker hair, but I am just as Dominant with blonde hair or red hair.
8) When it’s time to film, is it tougher to handle an actress with a domme background, because she can be worried about her image, look, etc.? How best to deal with that? Flattery or menace? :D
It can be difficult because they're used to running the show and often don't like being told what to do. I usually meet with people before working with them to get a sense of their personalities and build ideas/scripts around them so the acting isn't too much of a stretch. I'm very particular about details which I'm sure irritates some of them, but my actors trust my aesthetic, they know I'm going to make them look good, so I haven't had to deal with many problems.
9) Your own personal style concerning photo imagery is often very edgy and dark… are you inspired by mainstream horror films? Would you say that horror and bondage could co-exist in a feature film?
There is a lot of bondage and SM in mainstream horror films, it usually ends up on the ads or in the trailers. I can't watch scary movies, they give me horrible nightmares.
10) Naughty question: do you watch gay male bondage stuff? Just for “inspiration”, of course…!
I don't usually watch porn, but I did edit a gay porn (non-bondage) that was pretty hot. I liked that there were no women, it was all men. It's closer to my own fantasies - a room full of men all for me :)
11) Do you actually find time to relax? What are your favorite things to do when you’re not on any assignments?
My life is pretty hectic. My version of relaxing/stress relief usually involves a wild night out, sleeping the next day to recover, then getting back to work! I also enjoy going to museums, hiking, hanging out with my animals.
12) If you had to identify your three best girls friends in the industry, who would they be and why?
JJ Plush is someone I admire and adore. I love her curves and respect that she's been successful even though she's not a twig girl. Her enthusiasm and attitude is great and whenever we've hung out off-camera it's been fun too!
Ashley Renee is one of the best models I've shot. She brings sexuality to the plate in a way most models aren't capable. She effortlessly moves from pose to pose. She's really sweet in real life as well, we've been friends for 10 years.
I'm drawing a blank on a #3... eeek!
13) At this stage of your career and considering all that you’ve done to date, do you consider that there’s still a lot of fresh ground to cover in visual bondage art?
Not really. I'm at a point where I feel like I've done it all. I recently did a shoot where I transformed someone into a rubber doll for my FemDom site, which was a lot of fun.
14) At which point, when beginning to visualize a project, do you decide that “this should be B&W rather than color”?
It varies. I used to have a camera that had a black and white mode and I would look into the lens and decide. I don't like doing it in Photoshop, the tones don't read the same. I like to feel the work when I'm shooting it which you can't do if there's a ton of post processing done later. As a general rule these days I shoot color for commercial projects and black and white for my personal art.
15) Lastly… Have you ever been to Canada? You know that we would like to welcome you in Montreal any time! :D
I went to Boblo Island when I was a child... I've been wanting to come to Montreal and Toronto, hopefully in 2011 I can make that happen!